SB Yoga Class Info

Guidelines to a More Joyful Practice


Beginners to advanced students need to remember that yoga is not a competitive practice. If you treat it as such, you will find that you are only competing with yourself - and you are sure to lose! Take this opportunity to get to know the capacity of your body and your mind; as well, the capacity of your own courage, perseverance and patience in times of liberation and confrontation. Yoga challenges you to be utterly real with yourself and your situation, and asks that you stay present.

What are we staying present to?

In our lives we encounter the tough stuff about ourselves and when we do we are discouraged by it. So what do we do? We distract ourselves with anything and everything in order to not look at it. In yoga class when we encounter the tough stuff what do we do? We pick at our toes, maybe we look around at others and compare ourselves to them, good or bad, we ease up out of the posture so we don't feel what we just felt, or we get angry way deep inside, and we ignore the truth of ourselves. Maybe we find out we are judgmental, critical of others or ourselves, and maybe we find out we are not who we think we are whatever that may be. And then the ultimate reaction to all of this is we quit, we never come back. Yoga is challenging because, at least while you are there in the pose it asks you to encounter the "worst" part of ourselves - the judge and all of its manifestations, the whiner, the tyrant, etc.

When you encounter this please try to relax everything - your mouth, your tongue, your ears, your face and especially your mind. Develop self-observation, self-reflection slowly. Break down these patterns that keep you in this tension, and let go. Only then will self-acceptance come. You will get through it. The more you practice the more it will come, easily. And to those of you who think that they don't do this, don't be fooled. Something always comes up, even subtly. It will be the most difficult for you because you think everything is all right. Go slow.

Never push in your practice.

This is not a competition of who can hurt more after the class or during. There is a huge misconception of the physical practice of yoga that if you're not feeling "something" in a posture like a stretch or an ache then you must be doing it wrong, and therefore there is no satisfaction. This is a huge misnomer in the way we practice yoga in the west. Rather, try to find the sweetness in every posture. In other words, come away from the "ache" and find the point when the body is at it's most relaxed while still remaining present to the work needed to be done in the posture. In other words, keep working the posture with awareness and a curiosity that moves you slowly into a deeper place. More the point, work the posture, not for yourself and how you look in it, but for the posture itself. Make it impeccable within your own capacity.

I encourage you all to embrace yoga in a way you may have never considered. And that is to learn about yourself, your body and your mind. And realize growth. Bring the body and mind into balance so that you may free your spirit, and become more joyful. That is the quest of yoga. It's worth it, don't you think?